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Skills Passports at the Lifelong Learning Border

Kirsty Kitto (CIC Assoc. Prof. Data Science) has a new paper critically examining visions of the “Skills Passport”, and identifying two key challenges that must be overcome for such a concept to become reality. In the light of the Australian Universities Accord report, this could not be more timely to inform the debate.

Here’s the latest work she will present at UMAP24 — the premier international conference for researchers and practitioners working on systems that adapt to individual users, to groups of users, and that collect, represent, and model user information. This is shortlisted for the Best Paper Award!

Kirsty Kitto (2024). Will a Skills Passport ever get me through the lifelong learning border? Two critical challenges facing personalised user models for lifelong learning. In Proceedings of the 32nd ACM Conference on User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization (UMAP ’24), July 01–04, 2024, Cagliari, Italy. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 11 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3627043.3659564. (open access)

ABSTRACT: Lifelong personalised learning is often described as the holy grail of the educational data sciences, but work on the topic is sporadic and we are yet to achieve this goal in a meaningful form. In the wake of the skills shortages arising from national responses to COVID-19 this problem has again become a topic of interest. A number of proposals have emerged that some sort of a skills passport would help individuals, educational institutions, and employers to identify training and recruitment needs according to identified skills gaps. And yet, we are a long way from achieving a skills passport that could support lifelong learning despite more than 25 years of work on the topic. This paper draws attention to two of the critical sociotechnical challenges facing skills passports, and lifelong learner models in general. This leads to a proposal for how we might move towards a useful skills passport that can cross the “skills sector border”.